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NTUC FairPrice, Foodfare and Kopitiam: Grouped under one umbrella

Costcutter Supermarkets Group: Nationwide partnership with Uber Eats

Spanish court to probe Russian tycoon's bid for DIA supermarket chain: document
Spain’s High Court will investigate allegations that Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman acted to depress the share price of DIA when trying to take control of the supermarket chain, a court document seen by Reuters showed. Fridman’s LetterOne fund denied the allegations, saying in a statement they were “untrue and defamatory”. LetterOne rescued DIA from the brink of insolvency this year after the retailer’s market value fell by 90% in 2018 as it lost out to rising competition.

Cambodia: Obor Capital Co Ltd invests in online supermarket platform
Phnom Penh-based venture capital firm Obor Capital Co Ltd announced an early-stage equity fundraising deal with online supermarket platform Delishop.Asia to transform the Kingdom’s online shopping experience, it said. Obor Capital’s investment includes an injection of fresh capital and the acquisition of Delishop.Asia’s secondary shares. Delishop.Asia prides itself on being the leading Cambodian online supermarket, providing and delivering more than 8,000 products from more than 40 suppliers - including groceries, food and beverages, cosmetics and other consumer goods, it said.

UK: Costcutter partners with Uber Eats
Costcutter Supermarkets Group has launched a nationwide partnership with online food ordering and delivery platform Uber Eats. The partnership enables retailers to sign up to Uber Eats through Costcutter with a “favourable package, including discounted sign up costs and superior margins”. The symbol group says a wide range of products will be available for delivery on the Uber Eats app, including everyday essentials such as milk, butter and bread, meal for tonight options, along with soft and alcoholic drinks and sweet treats.

Singapore: NTUC FairPrice, Foodfare and Kopitiam to be grouped under one umbrella to keep food costs low for consumers
Moderating the price of groceries and cooked meals will become a greater focus for the labour movement, as three of the cooperatives under its social enterprise arm - FairPrice, Foodfare and Kopitiam - will be grouped under a new NTUC FairPrice Group. FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng, who took on the additional role of NTUC Enterprise group CEO earlier this month, announced this at a briefing on Tuesday (October 22), where he said that the move is aimed at driving greater efficiencies and catering to consumers' evolving food needs. FairPrice Group is working on several projects and details will be announced at a later date, he said.

Jumbo trials "Belgian" concept in Dutch store
Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo had announced to want to conquer Belgium with "a concept that was as of yet unheard of". In the municipality of Beilen, in the north of the Netherlands, a supermarket in line with the new concept opened last week: the shop provides even more space for fresh produce, including extensive fruit and vegetables and pastries departments, among other things. This could be the forerunner of what the retailer is going to launch in Belgium: a pragmatic cross between a Jumbo Food Market (a large supermarket concept with show cooking elements) and a Jumbo City (the urban concept that focuses on convenience and fresh 'food to go'). The most striking addition is that of a Foodcafé: a catering facility where customers can enjoy a coffee, sandwiches and fresh snacks. Jumbo has a great deal of expertise in the hotel and catering industry, since the company took over restaurant chain La Place.

Shopee to focus on growing market share in Southeast Asia
Singaporean online shopping business Shopee is aiming to boost its market share in Southeast Asia. The firm is targeting an expected exponential increase in the number of online shoppers in the region, according to a recent interview published in Yahoo Finance Singapore with Shopee’s CCO Zhou Junjie. “We believe that there should be a lot more growth potential in Southeast Asia so we should focus our effort and resources in this region”, said Zhou in the interview. “Whereas the e-commerce industry in China is more mature, Southeast Asia markets are still at the very beginning stage.”

France: Debt concerns linger after Casino unveils refinancing plan
French retailer Casino’s latest steps to shrink its debt pile will buy time for its main shareholder but not resolve all the problems faced by the group, ratings agencies and analysts said. Casino, majority owned by Chairman and CEO Jean-Charles Naouri and whose parent group Rallye is also in the spotlight over its debt pile, said it aimed to raise 1.5bln euros ($1.67bln) in new bank loans to help repay some of its debts. It is also in talks to extend credit lines for four years.

US: Stop & Shop, New York Giants renew multiyear partnership
Solidifying its ties to the New York metro area, the Stop & Shop Supermarket Co. has renewed a multiyear partnership with the New York Giants. The football team’s official supermarket since 2010, the grocer will also become its official tailgate and homegate partner. Additionally, a main pillar of the partnership is to work with, and donate to, local food banks in the region. The partnership also includes appearances by current and former Giants players to area stores, schools and community centers, providing aid to the needy.

US: Target CEO Brian Cornell expects to spend $50mln more on payroll to staff for busy December
This year there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2019 - making for the shortest possible holiday season. And Target predicts shoppers won’t have time for that December pause. “We have one less weekend during this holiday season”, CEO Brian Cornell said during a media event, held in Manhattan. Because of that, “I think we are going to see a very consistent rhythm and drumbeat” of shoppers during December, he added. “We will staff accordingly”, Cornell said. “Every day is going to count”. In order to keep up with peak demand, Target said, it expects it will spend $50mln more on payroll during the fourth quarter than it did a year ago. It said it will use the funds to offer more overtime and increase the number of workers in stores at the busiest hours.

Canada: Sobeys piloting intelligent shopping cart
Sobeys is partnering with Caper to test an intelligent shopping cart at a store in Oakville, Ontario. The ‘Smart Cart’ has been developed to enable shoppers to bypass the traditional checkout lane, one of the key friction points within shopping trips. The cart’s technology scans and weighs products as customers place them inside. It keeps a running tally of purchases and enables customers to pay directly via the cart. Commenting on the test, Mathieu Lacoursiere, vice president of retail support at Sobeys, stated: ”This is a unique way for us to test innovative new technologies aimed at enhancing the customer shopping experience and learn how best to make it faster and easier. The carts will also give our in-store team mates more time to interact with customers and answer questions about food and new products”.

Supermarket sales down in August: Statistics Canada
Statistics Canada says retail sale fell 0.1% in August to $51.5bln as sales at food and beverage stores dropped. Economists on average had expected an increase of 0.4% for August, according to financial markets data firm Refinitiv. Statistics Canada says sales at food and beverage stores fell 0.8% in August, the first move down from the sector in three months. Sales at supermarkets and other grocery stores fell 0.8%, while beer, wine and liquor stores dropped 1.9% and convenience stores edged down 0.1%. Sales at specialty food stores increased 2.3%.

US: Fresh Thyme to close three stores next month
Fresh Thyme Farmers Market will close three stores in mid-November, according to local reports. The company will close two stores in Nebraska, one located in Grand Island, Nebraska that opened last February and another in Omaha. A store in Ames, Iowa, which opened last year, is also slated for closure. These closures follow two others that took place over the summer. One store, which opened in 2015, closed in Dayton, Ohio, in July and the other closed in Louisville, Kentucky, in August, local media reported. It opened in 2016. Fresh Thyme did not immediately respond to Grocery Dive’s request for comment. According to reports, the stores that have closed and are scheduled to close were not performing as expected and sales volume was low.

Amazon buys healthcare start-up Health Navigator Inc said it bought healthcare start-up Health Navigator, its second purchase in the healthcare services industry. The deal comes after the company acquired online pharmacy PillPack last year, pitting itself against drugstore chains, drug distributors and pharmacy benefit managers. The company said the acquisition is a part of its new employee offering, Amazon Care, where employees of the e-commerce giant will be able to receive fast-paced access to healthcare facilities without having to make appointments.

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